TEXT BY SARAH ANNE DONNELLY
PHOTOGRAPHED BY MICHAEL D. WILSON
In 2018, empty nesters Megan and Mike Clouse sold their house in Sonoma, California, bought a cabin nearby, and began a nationwide search for a place to reinvent themselves. “We wanted more adventure, more grit, more community,” Megan says. And, as it turns out, more snow. “During the process, Mike was like, ‘I don’t want to live anywhere that’s hot.’ And I’m like, ‘That just eliminated a ton.’” They found an 1880 Boothbay Harbor farmhouse online, explored the neighborhood on Google Maps Street View, and asked their real estate broker to put in a bid. Learning that the place had been in the same family since it was built instilled a responsibility to renovate thoughtfully, Megan says. Their solution? An understated aggregate of their past and present in a home that is reverentially timeless.
The connected farmhouse is tucked away on a wooded 63-acre property at the end of a dirt road. To retain its historic look, the Clouses kept the existing white-and-gray palette, with pops of teal on the backs of the barn doors, adding only black aluminum windows.
A mid-century Heywood-Wakefield coffee table restored by Mike, a woodworker, anchors a woven-leather armchair and button-tufted West Elm sofa in cobalt velvet; the painting is one of several the Clouses own by South Carolina artist Jessica Leitko Fields. Megan punched up the door between the barn and kitchen (above) with Benjamin Moore’s Marblehead Gold paint and a “hello” sticker, “so it looks a little more friendly.”
Alongside a bench Mike crafted from scaffolding found in the farmhouse is a beloved table he and the Clouses’ younger son fashioned from pine boards found in the basement of their California cabin. The silken rug, rescued from the barn, was covered in “decades of dirt,” Megan says. “The cleaners had to take a lot of passes at it.”
In the dining room, Megan set a $5, formerly fluorescent-green table she unearthed at a thrift store and enhanced with charcoal-gray paint and a ceramic Anthropologie knob. Above, a thrift-store painting of San Francisco Bay; on the table, a well-loved antique dictionary found in the house.
In one of the farmhouse’s five bedrooms, a peony mural from Anthropologie serves as a headboard and sets a romantic tone, bolstered by a “nightstand” fashioned from a vintage tapestry draped over an ottoman and topped with a wooden tray. “We want this to be the place where everyone can gather,” Megan says. She has future grandchildren in mind.
Peel-and-stick floor tiles from WallPops — placeholders pending a future renovation — are an aesthetic throwback to motifs the couple loved in Sonoma, where they lived in a 1930s stucco cottage. A whitewashed thrift-store table cedes attention to the drama underfoot.
A Jøtul woodstove from Brunswick’s Sagadahoc Stove Company warms a spartan space that elevates its functional pieces, like a chocolate-leather sectional from Macy’s, a sinewy industrial floor lamp from Ikea, and an ottoman the homeowners reupholstered with a vintage Moroccan rug. The mantel’s vintage painting of a California dock and a charcoal-glazed mug by Portland’s Campfire Pottery nod to their lives, old and new.